© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A banner with the image of center-right Colombian presidential candidate Rudolf Hernandez is pictured a day before the second round of presidential elections in Lebrija, Colombia, June 18, 2022 .REUTERS/Santiago Arcos
BOGOTA/BUCARAMANGA (Reuters) – Colombians will go to the polls on Sunday to elect their next president, between former left-wing guerrillas pushing for sweeping social change and eccentric construction tycoons who have vowed to crack down on corruption choose.
Candidates Gustavo Petro (a former member of the M-19 rebels) and Rodolfo Hernandez (who first gained support through a TikTok video) are present in the polls Technical contact.
Petro, the former mayor of the capital Bogotá and current senator, has pledged to tackle inequality through free university education, pension reform and high taxes on unproductive land.
His proposals — including a ban on new oil projects — have surprised some investors, despite his promises to honor existing contracts.
“We’re one step closer to the real change we’ve been waiting for our whole lives,” Petro wrote on Twitter (NYSE: ). “There is no doubt, only certainty. We will write history. »
Petro, who is in his third presidential campaign, will become Colombia’s first leftist president, adding the Andean country to a list of Latin American countries that have elected progressives in recent years.
Petro, 62, said he was tortured by the military when he was detained for his guerrilla involvement, and his potential victory had senior armed forces officials ready for change.
Hernandez, a former mayor of Bucaramanga, was an unexpected runoff candidate and promised to cut government and fund social programs by ending corruption.
As part of the fight against drug trafficking, he also promised to provide free narcotics to addicts.
Despite his anti-corruption rhetoric, Hernandez himself is under investigation for corruption for allegedly interfering in a waste management tender for a company his son pressured. He denies wrongdoing.
Hernandez – like Petro – has pledged to fully implement a 2016 peace deal with FARC insurgents and has sought to negotiate with the still-active ELN guerrillas, despite accusing the group of a 2004 Kidnapped and murdered his daughter Juliana.
ELN denied any involvement and his body was never found.
“Elections are simple. Vote for someone who is controlled by the same people as always, or vote for me who is not controlled by anyone,” said the 77-year-old, who eschewed traditional campaigning in favor of fancy ‘s display. social media video.
Hernandez promised to respect the election results, while Petro questioned the integrity of election officials.
Both have called off campaigns due to what they say is a threat to their lives.
Regardless of who wins, Colombia will be inaugurated as its first black vice president in August — Petro’s running mate Francia Márquez and Hernandez’s second-in-command Malelan Castillo are both. Afro-Colombian.
Colombian police said this week they were on high alert after discovering that the militant group was planning vote-related violence.
About 39 million Colombians are eligible to vote.
Fewer than 55% showed up for the first round – which, like the second round, took place over the Bank Holiday weekend.